Epiphany...Don't you dare blame God for all this!

(sermon preached after the most horrific catastrophe ever known. (Tsunami in S E Asia)

Before we blame God for the terrible tragedy in SE Asia this week, let's just look at ourselves, and admit we certainly haven't been following the Maker's instructions. Is it too late to respond to this wake up call and are we beginning to stir ourselves into action at last?

There was a ruler who had two sons. The younger son said to the ruler: 'Let me have my share of the property.' After a few days the younger son took his property and got busy, releasing the assets to create wealth for his own use. He dug for coal, drilled for gas and oil and used the wealth released to go on a spending spree: fast cars, holidays across the world and every kind of modern convenience. The more he had, the more he wanted. He enjoyed every new gadget, unconcerned that the more he used, the inheritance that he would pass on to his children, would change from a fruitful world, to one laid waste. Little did he realise that his way of living would have a cataclysmic effect upon the natural world.

If the story ended now, would he come to his senses, before it was too late?

When one machine wore out, another was ordered, and he amassed more and more, until one day, his oil well ran dry, his coal was exhausted and he realised he had spent his inheritance and scarred and abused the world. He sat amid the waste, thinking of the life that those in his father's community once lived, and he wondered if it was too late to say sorry!

A story from Fiji, as told in the book,

From Shore to Shore,

Liturgies, Litanies and prayers. From around the World

SPCK press

This year is the year to change things once and for all.

This past week has been our wake up call. There's no doubt about it.

A new and real challenge faces us in this fragile world we live in, rather like the challenge faced by the wise men of a bright star appearing in the sky.

Here they were the Magi, people who had been going about their ordinary lives, when suddenly God broke in and invited them to journey with him.

What would they do?

Cling to their old and familiar ways or set their faces to a new and unknown destination?

Were they willing to be guided on a journey, which would require self-sacrifice, but also courage, and determination, and would they be willing to leave behind their lives of relative ease and comfort?

Would they be willing to utilise all their potential, their wealth and their gifts to meet the challenge?

And once begun, would they persevere and see it through?

This we know, they did, and became partners and friends, rather than strangers to our Lord.

Mere pious words and surface worship that doesn't touch our hearts and minds are not enough anymore!

This is the year for real change and real vision.

But will we all join the journey?

This week has been a wake up call to all of us who are comfortable.

We have been disturbed!

We have been challenged as never before to dig deep into our resources and make a difference to the world's poor.

Realistic giving is beginning to happen, but will it be sustained! Will we get so far on the journey and give up, as we've done in the past?

A gauntlet has been thrown down to our world leaders, but will they have the will and the vision to make a difference?

Unfamiliar cultures and faiths will need to work together and coordinate their efforts for success, and begin to see that 'diversity is not a threat but a strength!'

At long last we may find ourselves coming back to the Maker's instructions, and become a body of people whose spare parts must come together, for when one part suffers all suffer.

Let us have the determination to make this journey together, and discover God afresh in one another.

We remember…

THAILAND

4,800+ DEAD

INDONESIA

80, 420+ DEAD

MYANMAR

90+ DEAD

SRI LANKA

28, 600+ DEAD

SOMALIA

200+ DEAD

TANZANIA

10+ DEAD

BANGLADESH

2 DEAD

MALDIVES

73+ DEAD

MALAYSIA

72+

DEAD

INDIA

13,000+ DEAD

ITALY

14 DEAD

700+ MISSING

DENMARK

7 DEAD

466+ MISSING

SWITZERLAND

13 DEAD

700+MISSING

NORWAY

21 DEAD

462+ MISSING

UK

35 DEAD

? MISSING

JAPAN

18 DEAD

USA

15 DEAD

GERMANY

34 DEAD

1000+ MISSING

FRANCE

22 DEAD

96 MISSING

SWEDEN

59 DEAD

3500+ MISSING

AUSTRALIA

11 DEAD

111+ MISSING

FINLAND

14 DEAD

194+ MISSING

SINGAPORE

7 DEAD

18+ MISSING

BELGIUM

6 DEAD

215+ MISSING

NETHERLANDS

6 DEAD

30+MISSING

AUSTRIA

5 DEAD

16+ MISSING

SOUTH KOREA

8 DEAD

10+ MISSING

CANADA

5 DEAD

11+ MISSING

POLAND

4 DEAD

43+ MISSING

ISRAEL

3 DEAD

7 MISSING

BRAZIL

2 DEAD

TAIWAN

2 DEAD

PHILLIPINES

3 DEAD

RUSSIA

1 DEAD

COLOMBIA

1 DEAD

NEW ZEALAND

1 DEAD

300+ MISSING

CZECH REPUBLIC

1 DEAD

90+ MISSING

TURKEY

1 DEAD

53+ MISSING

CROATIA

1 DEAD

7+ MISSING

CHINA

1 DEAD

7+ MISSING

HUNGARY

20+ MISSING

IRELAND

20+ MISSING

SPAIN

11+ MISSING

ICELAND

11+ MISSING

LUXEMBOURG

11+ MISSING

GREECE

9+ MISSING

PORTUGAL

8+ MISSING

MALTA

1 MISSING